Fact Check

Did CDC Warn Against Traveling to Mexico Due to COVID-19?

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz was called out for traveling to Cancun, Mexico, as both a devastating winter storm and a pandemic impacted his state.

Published Feb 18, 2021

Committee Chairman Sen. Ted Cruz asks questions of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Executive Assistant Commissioner for Operations Support William Ferrara during testimony in a hearing before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Space, Subcommittee on Aviation and Space, to discuss the role of the the air transportation industry in mitigating the spread of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Washington, D.C., March 4, 2020. CBP Photo by Glenn Fawcett (U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Wikimedia Commons)
Image Via U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Wikimedia Commons
Claim:
In Februrary 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised U.S. travelers to “avoid all travel to Mexico.”

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As Texas faced a devastating winter storm resulting in statewide power outages and millions of households losing heat and electricity, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz was spotted boarding a flight from Houston, Texas, to the resort town of Cancun, Mexico, on Feb. 17, 2021. Outrage grew after Cruz released a statement confirming his travel, particularly because he was going to Mexico as the COVID-19 pandemic continued.

Alice Ollstein, a reporter for Politico, pointed out that while most of the outrage was focused on him leaving the state as millions were freezing, “let's not forget we're also in a pandemic and the CDC has warned that 'travelers should avoid all travel to Mexico.'"

This was correct. The CDC posts advisories on travel destinations and at the time of this writing listed Mexico at “Level 4,” which means “Very High” levels of COVID-19. The CDC website stated as of Feb. 2, 2021, “Travelers should avoid all travel to Mexico.”

Given that the CDC did indeed tell travelers to avoid going to Mexico, we rate this claim as “True.”

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.

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